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23Jun2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street Opens Higher, Crude Prices Edge Higher, Investors Await Economic Data For Friday

Written by Gary

U.S. stock index futures were little changed this morning, but opened moderately higher (SPY +0.3%) as oil prices have edged up and ahead of economic data and speeches by Federal Reserve policymakers.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are lower today with shares in Germany off the most. The DAX is down 0.67% while France's CAC 40 is off 0.47% and London's FTSE 100 is lower by 0.15%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Stock futures little changed as oil prices edge up

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Friday as oil prices edged up and ahead of economic data and speeches by Federal Reserve policymakers.

Toshiba willing to talk with spurned Western Digital about chip unit sale

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp said it was open to talks with Western Digital Corp in their dispute over the sale of the Japanese conglomerate's prized chip unit - an apparent olive branch after it chose another suitor as preferred bidder.

Ford recalls 15,600 cars in South Africa over fire risk

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co is recalling nearly 16,000 Ikon and Figo models in South Africa due to a potential fire risk, it said on Friday.

Canada's CIBC completes $5 billion PrivateBancorp acquisition

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said on Friday that it had completed the $5 billion acquisition of Chicago-based PrivateBancorp in a deal which will help it diversify from its domestic market.

VW waives appeal against German dieselgate compensation cases

BERLIN (Reuters) - German carmaker Volkswagen has agreed to buy back diesel cars equipped with illicit emissions control software after deciding not to appeal a German court ruling backing plaintiffs' calls for compensation.

Biggest U.S. banks clear first hurdle in Fed's annual stress tests

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The 34 largest U.S. banks have all cleared the first stage of an annual stress test, showing they would be able to maintain enough capital in an extreme recession to meet regulatory requirements, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday.

American Airlines pushes back on Qatar Airways plan to buy stake

(Reuters) - American Airlines' chief executive said on Thursday he is not "particularly excited" about Qatar Airways' interest in buying up to 10 percent of the U.S. carrier's shares, in a letter to employees following the state-owned Gulf airline's overture.

Accenture unloads $1.6 billion in pension liabilities to AIG, MassMutual

(Reuters) - Consulting and outsourcing services provider Accenture Plc said on Friday it would transfer $1.6 billion in pension obligations to insurers American International Group Inc and MassMutual.

Elbit Systems says innovation key to crowded drone market

PARIS (Reuters) - Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd , is moving quickly to innovate and maintain its edge in a global market in which it faces increasing competition from China, France, Turkey and others.

One "Data-Dependent" Trader Is "Looking At The Bounce In Gold As Sentiment Indicator"

As US (and global) economic data has disappointed at a rate not seen since Bernanke unleashed Operation Twist and QE3, so traders are shrugging off declining earnings expectations and weak macro data in favor of the continued belief that The Fed (or ECB or BoJ or BoE or PBOC or SNB) has their back. So, as former fund manager Richard Breslow notes below, it appears the 'data' that everyone is 'dependent' upon is very much in the eye of the beholder...

Via Bloomberg,

We're all data-dependent. It's not just the central banks that hide behind that aphorism. Traders and investors operate that way too. It's just that data is a very poorly defined word and concept. The dictionary speaks of facts and specifics. But in reality it includes, biases, positions and a whole lot of other subjective factors. You and I can, quite properly, look at the same data and react differently.

So while it's a universally held concept that is proudly used to denote dispassionate rationality, it's in fact a meaningless one.

The European composite PMIs that were released this morning were all misses. Good numbers, but misses nevertheless. But the euro has been up versus the dollar all day. Why? Because while it's also trading near the bottom of its recent range, peop ...

North Korea Blames Obama Administration For Warmbier's Death

A day after US student Otto Warmbier was laid to rest at a funeral service in his home town of Cincinnati on Thursday, the North Korean foreign ministry released a statement to local state-controlled television saying his death was a mystery and dismissing accusations that he had died because he was tortured and beaten during his captivity, according to Reuters.

Instead, the North's foreign ministry blamed the Obama administration for Warmbier's death, which never formally requested Warmbier's release, claiming Warmbier was "a victim of the policy of strategic patience."

"The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S. in his normal state of health indicators is a mystery to us as well," the foreign ministry was quoted by KCNA as saying.

Warmbier, 22, was arrested in the reclusive country while visiting as a tourist. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel, North Korea state media said. He was brought back to the United States last week with brain damage, in what doctors described as state of "unresponsive wakefulness", and died on Monday. US doctors who had traveled to the North last week to evacuate him had recognized that the former student had been provided with medical treatment, according to a ministry official.

Frontrunning: June 23

One year after Brexit: Forget euro zone breakup, sterling now deemed riskier (Reuters)

Senate Holdouts Seek Upper Hand in Perilous Health Bill Talks (BBG)

Senate Bill Poses Risks to Health-Care Companies (WSJ)

Trump's Tape Ruse Risks Fresh Legal Jeopardy in Russia Probe (BBG)

Arab states demand Qatar closes Jazeera, cuts back ties to Iran (Reuters)

Qatar Seen Rejecting List of Severe Demands to End Gulf Crisis (BBG)

Turkey rejects call to shut military base in Qatar (Reuters)

From Music to Maps, How Apple's iPhone Changed Business (WSJ)

How Killing Obamacare Might Save Obamacare, For a While (BBG)

Baghdadi death near 100 percent certain: Interfax quotes Russian senator (Reuters)

Japanese warship takes Asian guests on cruise in defiance of China (

Caught On Video: Russian Ships, Sub Fire Cruise Missiles At ISIS Targets In Syria

A little more than a week after launching the strike that reportedly killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, Russian navy ships and a submarine launched six cruise missiles at ISIS targets in Syria's Hama province, destroying an ISIS command center and ammunition depot, according to Russia Today. The missiles were launched from the eastern Mediterranean by Russian Navy frigates the Admiral Essen and the Admiral Grigorovich, the Defense Ministry said.

The cruise missile strike follows a similar attack by Russian forces on May 31, when a nearly identical arrangement of Russian warships and a submarine also struck ISIS targets near Palmyra.

And, like three weeks ago, today the missiles were launched from Russian Navy frigates: the Admiral Essen and the Admiral Grigorovich, as well as a submarine, the Krasnodar, from the eastern Mediterranean, the Defense Ministry said in a Friday statement. The submarine fired its missiles while submerged.

The strikes targeted Islamic State command and control centers, as well as ammunition depots in the Syrian province of Hama, and hit a large ammunition depot near the town of Aqerbat, which detonated after being hit. Russia had warned Israel and Turkey in advance about the strikes via a military-to-military hotline.

But, apparently, not the US.

The strike was launched after a large Islamic State convoy, comprising 39 vehicles and 120 militants, was spotted outside the city of Raqqa.

Brexit One Year Later: Markets Might Get It Wrong Again

The Brexit vote sank the pound but buoyed the FTSE 100. That relationship might be changing.

For Consumers, Less Debt but Lots of Bills

As a group, U.S. households' debt-to-income and debt-to-asset ratios in the first quarter fell to their lowest levels since the early 2000s. But financial obligations beyond debt payments, such as rents and auto leases, are taking a bigger bite out of pay.

Weibo Gets in Beijing's Way

Investors need to consider the political risk faced by China's version of Twitter.

Rail Week Ending 17 June 2017: Economically Intuitive Sectors Expansion Growing

Week 24 of 2017 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) improved according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. The economically intuitive sectors expanded.

The Wall Street Journal: Cladding on London high-rise destroyed by fire failed safety tests: police

Cladding samples from the London apartment tower destroyed in a massive fire last week failed fire-safety tests, police said, adding they are considering potential charges including manslaughter.

Key Words: Rand Paul would prefer a Senate health bill that repeals Obamacare

Sen. Rand Paul, the libertarian-leaning Republican from Tennessee, is, at this point, opposed to the Mitch McConnell working group's, telling MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program that he'd prefer legislation that repeals President Obama's signature Affordable Care Act. That, he said, is what he and other Republicans promised voters.

Earnings Outlook: Nike earnings: Cozying up to consumers in the face of competition from Adidas, Under Armour

Nike Inc. is expected to announce fourth-quarter earnings on June 29, just a couple of weeks after announcing a major reorganization that includes a 2% workforce reduction and a focus on enhancing its direct-to-consumer sales.

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